3250.0.55.001 - Quality Assurance of Rebased Population Estimates, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/07/2017   
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Census quality assurance processes are broad and detailed, and more extensive than those undertaken for estimated resident population (ERP) purposes. This is because Census contains over 50 variables, only four of which are used for the production of ERP. These variables are sex, age, place of usual residence, and Indigenous status. For ERP by country of birth, the country of birth variable from the Census is also used.

The quality assurance processes undertaken for the 2016 Census are documented in Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016(cat. no. 2900.0).


The Post Enumeration Survey (PES) delivers the Census net undercount estimates that are used in rebasing Australia's ERP. Net undercount estimates are also used to assess the completeness of Census counts, and evaluate the effectiveness of Census collection procedures so that improvements may be made for future Censuses.

Like the Census, the quality assurance process for the PES is extensive and well documented. More information on 2016 quality assurance processes can be found in Census of Population and Housing: Details of Overcount and Undercount (cat. no. 2940.0).


RTOs are those who were outside Australia for less than 12 months over a 16-month period around Census night. ERP is based on the usual residence concept and therefore, Australian residents who are temporarily overseas on Census night need to be added to the ERP.

Preliminary rebased ERP is released around 12 months after the 30 June reference date and therefore uses a preliminary RTO estimation method, because it can take up to 16 months to determine a person's RTO status, i.e. whether a person's move was a temporary trip or otherwise.

Quality assurance testing shows that 97–98% of RTOs return to Australia within six months of Census night and therefore have their RTO status resolved in time for the calculation of preliminary rebased ERP. This proportion is the same across all states and territories. Therefore, the ABS needs only to model the remaining 2–3% of residents who have not returned within six months.

Additional information can be found in Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0) and Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0).